One team turned in a solid performance while the other was hoping for better results, but in the end South Pasadena High cross country coach Mike Parkinson said it was a “great experience” as both squads made history last weekend at the CIF State Championships in Fresno.
In a unique situation, it marked the first time in the school’s history that both units qualified to compete at the prestigious meet in the same year.
In fact, it was a first-ever visit for a SPHS girls’ unit and fourth for the boys as the teams loaded up school vans and took the 4-1/2 hour trip up north from South Pasadena to showcase their talents together.
“It was really good to be here,” Parkinson said on Saturday, following the Division 4 competitions at Woodward Park.
The girls’ team “’really stepped it up,” he added, praising their 10th place overall finish among the 25 teams, surprising many “because we weren’t ranked in the state at all this whole season.”
South Pasadena’s girls’ team was led by Sydney Morrow finishing 21st (18:54.8), followed by Abigail Errington 45th (19:26.1), Amelie Geoffron 59th (59:44.4), Gabriela Rodriquez 91st (20:20.1), Saidbh Byrne 96th (20:24.7), Kerrigan Riley 122nd (21:00.6), and Mai Koyama 146th (21:34.0). There were 207 runners in the race.
JSerra Catholic High School won the Division 4 girls competition while La Cañada took second. Sophia Nordenholz won the 3-mile race, coming across the line in 16:46.0.
On the other side, the South Pasadena High boys “had a rougher time,” said Parkinson as the Tigers took the 22nd spot out of 25 teams.
Liam DeVilla was the top finisher in Division 4 for the SPHS boys, taking the 57th spot in 16:33.8, followed by Brady Nakamura 120th (17:24.6), Jason Baek 131st (17:34.5), Jack Ishibashi 157th (18:09.7), Noah Kuhn 174th (18:33.1), Keeran Murray 175th (18:35.4) and Jarvis Kikekawa-Fraser (19:59.2) out of the 209 competitors.
Max Sannes from Big Bear High School won the individual boys’ competition in 15:00.5 while Albany High was the top finishing school.
In the end, the Tigers’ coach called it a “super great experience” to have his teams in the state spotlight competing, saying, “I’m excited for our full experience.”
Parkinson is already looking ahead to next season as three freshmen girls competed last Saturday in Fresno along with two sophomore boys in their respective races. Along with some juniors in the mix, he likes the idea that “we have a good crew coming back with some good experience,” he said. “So, it’s all super positive. We’re looking forward to what we can do next year.”